I just came across all these parts stripped out of a 1933 Dodge Brothers DP Six. Presumably, that’s a sign that the body and frame are in the process of being street rodded. These parts are hardly useless, however, as they’ve got plenty of life left in them. Yes, you could set them aside planning to find and restore another ’33 Dodge, but I think they’d make the perfect basis for that rarest of creatures: a non-Ford speedster.
Early (i.e. pre-1949) Fords are neat. I love them. That said, there are a lot of them out there. Go to a prewar car event and Model T’s, Model A’s, and early V-8s are everywhere. People loved them and saved them and a whole industry (Hemmings included) grew up around keeping them alive long after the point when Ford Motor Company had moved on to more complicated and profitable designs.
Of course, even in the 1920s, when at times the Model T represented roughly half of the new-car market, Ford wasn’t alone in producing capable, affordable cars. One of its biggest rivals was Dodge Brothers, which had started life as a supplier to many of Detroit’s early players and was especially important to the eventual success of Henry Ford’s operation.
The brothers themselves, John and Horace, died in 1920, only six years after debuting their eponymous automobile. Dodge (which didn’t drop “Brothers” until 1938 or so) continued along after their demise, controlled by heirs and financial backers, especially investment bank Dillon, Read & Company, which acquired the Hamtramck-based automaker in 1925 and then sold it to Chrysler Corporation in 1928.
On Saturday, I took a stroll through a junkyard just for fun. In just 30 minutes I spotted some interesting hardware: A strangely beautiful GM part that few people will ever see, an awesome air intake system that cools a car’s computer, and one of the wackiest suspension designs of all time. Check it out in the first installation of my new series called “Junkyard Finds.” (Since I basically live in junkyards anyway, I may as well take you all with me.)
I am in the process of piecing together used parts for a dirt-cheap overlanding build that I plan to someday take on an expedition of epic proportions. With coil springs, front lower control arms, and shocks sourced for a total of $50, I still needed rear control arms. A friend of mine had lifted his Jeep Wrangler JK recently, and had a set of arms sitting around, so I visited him down near Dearborn.
After handing my buddy $20 for the parts, he and I decided to head to a local junkyard, Fox Auto Parts in Belleville, Michigan, to hang out a bit more in a socially distanced fashion. Once there, I was keen to show off my knowledge of random cars, so I kicked an early-2000s Saturn Ion’s extremely rusty rear brake drum. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Oh, I gotta show you something,” I responded. I kicked the car again. The thing wouldn’t budge, probably because southeast Michigan’s road salt was so upset that it couldn’t eat the car’s plastic exterior panels and it took it all out on that drum.
Ford’s iconic Mustang has long been synonymous with automotive personalization, freedom, and a youthful vigor that either reinforces or belies its driver’s age. But what happens when that personalization and freedom drives an owner/enthusiast to move beyond the factory equipped? This is where a vigorous and healthy automotive aftermarket comes into play.
An Esso gas ad that appeared in the fall of 1968, judging by its “Vote” motif. The Humble Oil & Refining Company continued to run its “Put a Tiger in Your Tank” campaign with what appears to be an early Mustang convertible.Car-part companies have long sought to harness the Mustang’s image: its fun, carefree attitude; its long-hood/short deck style; its powerful, sharp-handling reputation. The knock-on effect should be obvious. If a Mustang is already a swell ride, wouldn’t a select group of parts make it even more so?
Use our motor oil and fuel, and your Mustang will run better—or maybe your clunky old breadbox will run like a Mustang. Use our tires or shock absorbers, and your Mustang will attack those curves with the tenacity of an octopus’ suction cups. Use our wheels, and your boring old look will stand out and sparkle. Your Mustang, rather than a carbon-copy cutout version of the other 100,000 that rolled down the assembly line that quarter, will really be your Mustang—tuned to your specific tastes. Or, perhaps, those parts will infuse Mustang-like qualities into your not-a-Mustang.
1] Some 19861993 Mustangs had disc brakes. All SVO Mustangs had five-lug disc brakes, then in 1994, most Mustangs had rear disc brakes.
2] On earlier vehicles, the ID tag is bolted to the diff cover, though they are often missing. Ford started phasing out the metal tags in the late ’80s, replacing them with a sticker located on the axletube by the brakes.
3] The axletubes have been known to turn inside the housing, as they’re held into the third member by just two plug welds, seen here. Use nickel rod and weld the tubes all the way around where they enter the housing.
4] Many models included a Traction-Lok limited-slip differential, which can be identified by a large, S-shaped clip pressing against the inside of the side gears. This can be seen only with the cover off; without an ID tag, you can’t spot a TractionLok from the outside.
5] Plastic covers are occasionally found on ’90s Rangers and Explorers.
6] Fox-body 8.8s have coil-spring perches and tabs for the control-arm bushings. Only truck versions have leaf-spring pads.
7] From the factory, 8.8s use 1330- or 1310-series U-joints. This is the companion flange where the yoke bolts. The 1330 has a 3316-inch width for the U-joint, and the 1310 has a 358-inch width. The 1330 is usually found in Ford trucks. The aftermarket sells flanges of various widths for added strength and conversions for Jeeps, all of which fit either the original 1330- or 1310-series universal U-Joints.
8] These rearends generally use a 28-spline pinion yoke, but some trucks use a 30-spline.
9] This is the plug for ABS found on some 8.8s.
10] Most 8.8 axletubes are 3 inches in diameter and very thin. To prevent warping from heat, don’t use a torch and avoid extended use of a die grinder while modifying an 8.8.
11] The 8.8 is cheaper than a 9-inch, and if you add 31-spline axles, it can be as strong as a GM 12-bolt. The pinion-gear shaft diameter is larger than on a 9-inch and the same size as on a Chevy 12-bolt.
12] Ranger and Explorer axles have a 5-on-412-inch bolt pattern. Fox-body axles use a four-lug wheel pattern.
Buying a used anything that you haven’t actually held in your hands, from a seller that you don’t really know, can be a daunting proposition. Yet, since we can’t have a swap meet in our backyard each weekend, and most times the parts we desire for our vintage cars are hundreds of miles away, we roll the dice and hope for the best, in an effort to get our projects finished.
If you’ve found yourself participating in an online treasure hunt, wading through auction listings and/or classifieds in search of those elusive gems, here are a few tips to help you reduce the risk and still hopefully get a good deal. This is not meant to be an in-depth primer of how to buy parts online that covers every nuance of the process. Rather it’s simply some considerations I mull over when I’m doing it, so please feel free to add your tips to the mix.
For the past 10 years, no one, not even his son, was allowed inside Bob Koepke’s home near Titusville, Fla. The retired NASA accountant had been a fixture for many years around the area’s hot-rod circuit and swap meets, and had long wrenched on his own vehicles. When he died last November, his son opened his house — and found it occupied, floor to ceiling, with cars and parts.
As a UK based Model A owner the majority of parts for my car come from the U.S. This is either via a UK agent or direct from the States. In the UK I use Belchers & O’Neil Vintage Ford. From the States Bert’s Model A is by far the best, as an example they are happy to send their excellent paper catalogue to the UK FOC. The Bert’s Model A can be found on the link
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